Russia will have giant Wing in Ground Effect Seaplanes patrolling the Arctic

Russians have built the vast majority of planes that leverage Wing in Ground Effect. Flying low above the water or land can provide extra lift to enable planes with far more cargo capacity.

The Soviet Navy built about thirty 125 ton Orlyonok-class ekranoplans and they were deployed mainly in the Black Sea and Baltic Sea fleets. They were used from 1979 to 1992. There was also a few 400-ton Lun-class ekranoplan was built as a missile launcher.

In 2015, Russia’s Naval Aviation Chief Igor Kozhin expected to complete a standardized wing-in-ground-effect platform with a lifting capacity of up to 300 tonnes by 2020. There has been some work done but it is still in the conceptual stage.

A prototype of the Orlan wing-in-ground-effect craft armed with missiles is expected to be developed in Russia under the state armament program through 2027.

The giant ekranoplans will fly at about 250 miles per hour and will likely have a range of about 1000 miles. A 300-ton cargo capacity would be twice as much as a 747. These vehicles would give Russia far more control of the Arctic versus other countries.